Crisis Line – a toll-free, 24 hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week, statewide
telephone line answered by trained professionals/and/or trained volunteers.
This service allows victims to call directly for housing assistance, non-
residential counseling, victim advocacy, or other community referrals and
Temporary Emergency Shelter – includes provision of temporary housing,
food, transportation, case management, individual and group counseling,
referrals, personal hygiene articles, assistance with special needs, etc. for up to
90 days in Laurel and Hattiesburg. Both shelters are open 24 –hours-a-day,
seven days-a-week, and are staffed with a full-time Shelter Services Director
and Residential Workers, as well as volunteers. This service allows victims
and their children to have safe space in a supportive environment to help
rebuild their lives. This would prevent clients from being homeless or prevent
death due to staying in their current situation.
Residential/Non-Residential Counseling – Includes individual and group
counseling to victims/survivors who are residing in shelters in Laurel and
Hattiesburg. If client is not residing in shelter, clients may come to our Laurel
or Hattiesburg offices for counseling sessions from any county in the eleven-
county service area. This service allows victims/survivors to work on
domestic violence issues to become more emotionally and mentally healthy in
a location away from the shelters, for those victims/survivors not needing
shelter, but needing counseling and support.
Public Education/Training – includes speaking to civic, business, school,
and church groups about domestic violence, teaching classes at local colleges
and universities, providing in-services for professionals, and providing
specialized training for law enforcement, judges, social workers, medical
personnel, etc. This service is provided by several staff members and
volunteers. This service furthers awareness of domestic violence, as well as
awareness of services throughout the eleven-county service area, thereby
assisting others in assisting victims/survivors.
Childcare/Children’s Program – Child care is offered to residential children
in Laurel and Hattiesburg by experienced Child Care Workers, as well as
volunteers. This service is provided to all children in shelter. Preschool is
available for children aged six and under to prepare them for the regular
classroom setting. Classes are taught by a Master level certified teacher.
Children aged six and older can attend a domestic violence educational group
upon the parent’s approval. These service help to break the cycle of violence
by reaching out to the children exposed to violence with education and
training for the child and the parent.
Case Management – offered to women and their children for up to 90 days
while in shelter, this service will help in the transition to independent living.
Services that are provided to assist clients are transportation, advocacy, court
support, assistance in practical living, and referrals. This service is performed
by the Case Manager daily. This service gives victims much-needed support
to deal with stress associated with moving into dependent living and aid them
in not returning to the abusive situation. Case management can be provided to
shelter clients after departure from the shelter if needed.
Victim Advocacy – provided in municipal and justice courts in Jones, Jasper,
Smith, Wayne, Covington, Jefferson Davis, Forrest, Lamar, and Marion
Counties. The Victim Advocate provides service five days a week. In
addition, the Victim Advocate assists with law enforcement and judicial
training, makes recommendations to the court for offender rehabilitation, and
accompanies shelter clients to court. This service gives victims additional
support during the somewhat confusing court process, as well as provides
increased awareness of new and existing laws and the services of this agency
to law enforcement and judges.
Batterer’s Educational Groups - also called Domestic Violence Intervention
Program – an alternative sentencing for judges utilizing the Duluth model
curriculum, and modifications in the 11-country service area to male batterers.
Also offered on a voluntary basis from referrals. Groups are weekly. The
men’s groups are facilitated by a certified male facilitator. This service helps
to break the cycle of violence by addressing the problems of the batterer, and
hopefully, to reunite the family in a peaceful environment.
Volunteers – The volunteer program allows members of the surrounding
communities to give their time and service, and to learn more about DAFS.
This program provides opportunities for volunteers to answer the crisis line,
help with direct services at the shelters, and help with grocery shopping,
maintenance, office work and other areas. Students at local colleges and
universities can volunteer their time for community service, and Field
Placements are available for Bachelor and Master’s level Social Work and
Family and Consumer Sciences students at the University of Southern
Mississippi, among others. Students can gain valuable experience assisting
victims and survivors, and some go on to work for the agency. In addition,
Foster Grandparents and personnel from the Retired Senior Volunteer
Program can volunteer at DAFS. All of these volunteer experiences provide
an increased awareness of DAFS’ services, generating an increased awareness
to victims and survivors as well.